Recovery & Covid comebacks – 4 key things from Lijnders’ pre-Leicester press conference

Pep Lijnders occupied the hot seat ahead of Liverpool’s League Cup tie with Leicester and the assistant manager was full of brilliant answers pertaining to COVID, VAR and the schedule.

Here are four key points from Lijnders as he previewed the latest clash at Kirkby:


No rush for the Reds

Liverpool have four players out with COVID and while three (Virgil van Dijk, Fabinho and Curtis Jones) can return as early as the trip to Leicester on December 28, “we will not rush them back.”

Thiago could only return for the trip to Chelsea but Lijnders was quick to stress that “we will take our time” as “health comes first” and the players “need training” after 10 days of quarantine.

It leaves their return in the air somewhat but Jordan Henderson is to be back in contention after non-Covid related illness forced his absence at Tottenham, but Divock Origi will play no part.


Respect recovery

The Reds are entering a period where they will play three games in the space of six days, on any year it’s an issue but it’s even more so amid a number of Covid cases.

And while a firm supporter of everything the Premier League is, Lijnders stressed the needs to respect recovery to protect and maintain the quality of the game we all love.

“We love to work in England and we love the Premier League: the intensity, the quality of opposition, the intensity of playing every three days.

“But we all have to respect recovery. If you want a quality game it is important that the players don’t accumulate fatigue.

“For example, if our players accumulate fatigue they make not as quick decisions, they are not as brave, not as creative, not as spontaneous – we will play the ball to the side.

“The quality of the game goes down the more fatigue there is, a Premier League player needs 72 hours to recover.”

Few could have said it better!


Prepare for a strong Leicester team

Brendan Rodgers, Leicester ((Mike Egerton/PA))

The Foxes have been hit by Covid and injuries but Liverpool are preparing for a strong team and a stern test at Anfield nevertheless.

“We prepare for a strong Leicester team, a typical Brendan Rodgers team: open up the pitch, wants to have the ball, be in the opposition half and technicians in the centre and speed on top.”

A place in the semi-final awaits the winner and it could be for a single game with the two-legged tie under question due to the pandemic.


Opportunities for youngsters make for healthy club

LIVERPOOL, ENGLAND - Wednesday, November 3, 2021: Liverpool's Kaide Gordon during the UEFA Youth League Group B Matchday 4 game between Liverpool FC Under19's and Club Atlético de Madrid Under-19's at the Liverpool Academy. Liverpool won 2-0. (Pic by David Rawcliffe/Propaganda)

The intensity of the schedule in addition to Covid cases makes it so that youngsters will have a role to play against Leicester, but it’s nothing new for Liverpool.

“One of our ideas inside the club, for a healthy club, is to have a proper inside pathway, that academy has a chance to improve the club.

“That is why we construct our squad and give so many young players opportunities. Think we had five Liverpool debuts this year in the League Cup.

“That’s healthy, that’s what we want because we have the talent but we want to give them the opportunity to grow inside the club and it will create new players.”

One can expect the likes of Kaide Gordon, Tyler Morton, Owen Beck and Conor Bradley to have a role to play.